Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - FCA Statistics.

44.

asked the Minister for Defence if he will state with reference to the FCA (a) its present strength, (b) the annual cost of upkeep and (c) the number of regular Army officers and men attached full time to its units.

The present effective strength of An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil is 19,773.

The elements which go to make up the annual cost of the upkeep of An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil, apart from the cost of pay and allowances, include such items as food, clothing, accommodation, transport, equipment, medical treatment, insurance, civil service staffs and civilians employed with the Defence Forces. It would not be feasible to isolate these various elements and cost them. The Deputy may, however, obtain details which would be of assistance to him by referring to the Estimates for Defence for the current financial year.

There are 159 officers and 612 other ranks of the permanent Defence Force attached full time to units of An Fórsa Cosanta Áitiúil.

Would the Minister say when he refers to "present strength" what exactly he means by "strength"? Does he mean those on the list of members of the FCA but who have not participated for any period or does he mean those actively training at the present time?

It means the full list of the strengths quoted. The number of FCA members who come up for training would be an entirely different figure. I have not that information here with me. I know that the full strength of 19,773 is not recorded as coming up annually for training.

Would the Minister not agree it would be a good idea to know how many of these people really consider themselves active members of the FCA so that active members could be treated better than they are? Carrying deadwood is no good to anybody.